It’s up to all of us to have a Safehome

I am trying to raise a moral, upstanding, socially conscious little girl (okay, she’s taller than me now but she will always be my baby). Part of that process is teaching Rosie that not everyone is as lucky as she which we’ve illustrated every year by selecting a different charity and donating our time each holiday season (and yes, I still want my gold star for that). This year we’ve loaded backpacks with food, boxed up coats and clothes for a holiday store and we’re gearing up for our annual toy drive and plan to fill our garage with lots of joy.

Choosing this year’s charity was easy for me. Middle school brings an entire new set of life lessons and at twelve my child is now old enough to begin to learn about abuse- both verbal and physical. It’s time to teach her about positive relationships so when she starts to become interested in boys (okay, she’s  noticing a little) that she knows how she wants to be treated and the types of behavior that are inappropriate. So this year, I choose a charity that I feel supports that mission-Safehome.

I am lucky. I’ve never been abused. But, I did date a boy once with a violent temper. And, one icy evening as he was dragging me out of a high school basketball game to the car, I slipped and fell and broke my elbow. At the time, I didn’t give it another thought. He was mad. He screamed at me a lot. But, I didn’t know any different. I grew up in a home where my parents fought all the time so I didn’t know it wasn’t normal.  Luckily, we went to college and he cheated on my with a sorority sister so the relationship ended on it’s own. But, what if it hadn’t?

Millions of women live in fear in their own homes however they may not recognize that the behaviors exhibited are abnormal and even harmful to the entire family. The Safehome website provides a wealth of information in a non-threatening way so a woman sitting at home can ask herself some hard questions and come to the realization that yes, it is abuse and it’s time to go. If unclear, there’s a 24 hour hotline to call that is always manned by a friend. Once a woman makes the decision to leave, there’s a comprehensive checklist to work through the process and a friendly face to greet them at the facility.

Families arrive at a confidential safe location to start their lives over and are provided with transitional housing, counseling and a host of other services. There are hot meals, warm baths, friends and support all around. And, for many it’s the first time in a long time that their children can play in the absence of fear.

What has endeared Safehome to me (on top of the fact that they save lives every day), is the Healthy Relationships program that they provide to middle and high schools. As a mom of a tween, I am teaching my child about positive relationships and sexual harassment but as we learned when they had “the talk” in grade school, not every child has an engaged parent. Safehome’s in-school curriculum provides and eight-week program that addresses all the issues to educate teens on healthy relationships. This in turn, should break the cycle for many.

So, how can you help this holiday season?

  • First, if you know a friend in trouble, please be sure that they know about Safehome. Many women in abusive situations feel powerless and don’t know there are resources out there. The Safehome website is http://www.safehome-ks.org and the crisis hotline is 913.262.2868. (Not in Johnson County, the KC Metro line is 816.408.5463)
  • Second, you can make a direct donation ranging from a glass of cold milk to a good night’s sleep right here.
  • Third, Rosie and I will be collecting toys and much needed items for Safehome between November 26th and December 10th. Visit Safehome’s wish list (which is fairly consistent throughout the year) and take a trip to the store or just reach into your cabinets. Want to make a child’s holiday dreams come true? Buy a new toy. All items can be dropped under the bench on our porch. If you’d like an itemized receipt, please email me the list of donated items and I’ll work with Safehome to make that happen.
  • Fourth, step up. Sponsor a lunch, attend a fundraiser or volunteer your time.

Finally, if you have a tween or teen, take the time to sit down with them and talk about their relationships. I got lucky that my potentially abusive relationship in high school fizzled out but I can honestly say that I didn’t know it was toxic at the time. Abuse prevention starts at home with comprehensive education. Don’t be afraid to tackle tough subjects. It’s up to us as parents to raise healthy little adults.

To learn about other Kansas City charities and how you can make the season brighter for others, visit these great blogs:

Everyday Truth– Bear Hugs
Back to Allen– The Children’s Place
Whatcha Makin Now-Wayside Waifs
Soleful Suitcases– KC Rescue Mission
Wayward Dogs– Midwest Adopt-a-Bull
Sarah Scoop– Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Laughing Cat Creations– Turning Point
Blogchickabowow– Jewish Family Services
Healthnut Foodie – Ronald McDonald House
Raising the Barrs– Hillcrest Transitional Housing
KC Edventures– Toys for Tots & Children’s Mercy
The Happy Family Movement– Rose Brooks Women’s Center

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About debcb

All Deb wanted to do was work, until she had Rosie. For the past decade, she's juggled a full-time career, high-profile volunteer work and mommyhood.

Comments

  1. Great advice! I’ve very glad you got out of that relationship when you did! It’s so nice to know we live in a community that has support for those that need it.

  2. I agree with Chelsea, so glad that relationship ended and you are now safe and raising a child with such great love and care. Thank you.

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